20 September 2007

Consultation on Exemptions for Direct Offshore Foreign Insurers

The Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer, Peter Dutton MP, today announced the release of a Treasury discussion paper following the passage of the Financial Sector Legislation Amendment (Discretionary Mutual Funds and Direct Offshore Foreign Insurers) Bill 2007 last week.

Under the Bill, foreign insurers providing general insurance products in Australia, either directly or through the actions of another (for example, an insurance agent or broker), will be required to be authorised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and comply with Australia’s risk-focused prudential framework.

“This Bill is designed to enhance the consumer protection of Australian policy holders by ensuring that foreign insurers work within Australia’s existing prudential framework, which is regarded internationally as one of the best” Mr Dutton said.

“The Government has always recognised, however, that there will be occasions where some Australian businesses will need access to the international insurance market either because of their particular circumstances or the unique nature of the risks to be insured.”

“The discussion paper proposes limited exemptions to the requirement to be APRA authorised to ensure that Australia’s largest businesses, and those unable to obtain appropriate cover domestically, can continue to draw on the world insurance market if needed”  Mr Dutton said.

“I welcome industry feedback on the ideas in this paper.  The Government is keen to continue to work with industry to ensure that the exemptions process works smoothly and effectively” Mr Dutton said.

Treasury’s Regulation of Direct Offshore Foreign Insurers—Exemption Discussion Paper, is available from: http://www.treasury.gov.au.